Ahmed 'Abd al-Rahman Ahmed Baida. Copyright Rihab Baida Studio, Nyala.
Ahmed 'Abd al-Rahman Ahmed Baida. Copyright Rihab Baida Studio, Nyala.

Rihab Baida Studio, Nyala

Horse Race Festival, Nyala. Copyright Rihab Baida Studio, Nyala.
Rihab Baida Studio, Nyala

Aḥmad 'Abd al-Raḥmān Aḥmad Baiḍa, born in North Darfur, is a non-commissioned officer in the Sudanese Armed Forces and a photographer. He is a father of ten boys and girls who hold degrees from various universities. Aḥmad Baiḍa served in military units in various parts of Sudan, while he was working in the Military Police. In Bahr al-Ghazal State (now in South Sudan), he discovered his passion for photography and developed his talent with the company of photography professionals there at that time.

At the time, the Intelligence Chief, Sheikh Muṣṭafa ‘Ali, sent Baida to the Ministry of Culture and Information in Khartoum to learn the basics of the art of photography, after noticing his passion and fervent love of it. After returning to Bahr al-Ghazal, Baida opened Al-Riḥāb Studio, and obtained a photography certificate from Cairo via correspondence.

Baiḍa’s collection contains many unique shots that documented the heritage of many different tribes, their festivals, games and folk dances. Among the pictures engraved in his memory is his picture of President Jaafar Numairi jumping from the plane and before his feet touched the stairs; President Numairi liked the picture, and rewarded him with a watch and a sum of money. Another memorable picture is that of a burning plane before hitting the ground.

Recalling the past beauty of Darfur, Uncle Baiḍa says that it is difficult for him to describe it, as it was beautiful in all respects. Darfur was the land of the Qur’an, worship and piety, and the land of beautiful nature, embracing Jebel Marra with its gardens and waterfalls with fresh water, and all its inhabitants were like brothers interconnected. It was nothing like today when death, destruction and animosity, even among members of one tribe, prevail. He asks God Almighty that peace prevail throughout Darfur and prays that Darfur may return to its first course, as it was when he would travel alone at the age of seven from his hometown Saraf 'Umra to Al-Junaina on the back of a camel and would stop on the way to have food and drinks without fear, safe and secure.

Sudan Memory collaborated with Aḥmad Baiḍa and his son Mohamed, who now runs the photo studio in Nyala, to record Ahmad’s story and to share some of his collection. A selection of his photos are available to view here.

Nyala, Sudan

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